This nonprofit in Jamaica Plain is pushing to change the healthcare industry through food

Nutrition is important, but could food actually serve as medicine for people with chronic illnesses? Community Servings, a nonprofit organization located in Jamaica Plain, thinks it can. 

Community Servings is one of just 18 organizations across the United States offering a unique new medical intervention called Medically Tailored Meals, or MTMs. MTMs are meal plans tailored to the medical needs of the recipient by a registered nutritionist and are designed to improve health outcomes, lower the cost of care and increase patient satisfaction. Community Servings offers 15 different medical diets to over 2,000 clients, making and delivering 22,000 meals each week.

The organization, founded 33 years ago in response to the HIV/AIDS crisis, began its work by bringing meals to individuals dying from the disease in order to help keep them nourished. As medications improved over time, the organization expanded its focus to individuals with an array of different medical illnesses such as heart failure and diabetes.

The next big step for Community Servings and other MTM organizations is getting their unique intervention accepted and integrated into healthcare.

 “Philanthropy dollars are only going to go so far,” said Ryan Levasseur, director of communications at Community Servings. “Medically Tailored Meals really need to become part of healthcare, and that’s what we’re working towards.”

“We want to make sure that everybody has access to what we offer,”  Levasseur said. “Part of the way to do that is to get healthcare to recognize that bringing people with various clinical and chronic illnesses meals that keep them healthy is the right thing to do – it’s also the smart thing to do.”